Meeting with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
On September 21, 2010, Phil Wilayto attended a meeting at a midtown hotel with President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and approximately 130 members of the U.S. "peace and social justice movements", as well as "major figures in the Black activist community." Wilayto was also among those who made opening remarks at the meeting.
Phil Wilayto of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran called for the issue of sanctions to be one of the central demands in the upcoming October 2nd “One Nation Working Together” march on Washington.
There were four annual meetings with U.S. peace and social justice activists, held at the request of the Iranian Permanent Mission to the United Nations. Phil Wilayto attended all four, and organized three of them.
Several U.S.based "anti-imperialist and anti-war organizationsuary agreed on a January 17 2012, conference call to hold coordinated protests across the country on Saturday, Feb. 4. The demands will be: “No war, no sanctions, no intervention, no assassinations against Iran.”
The ad-hoc group that took part in the call decided that although there were only two weeks to organize, it would invite anti-war forces around the world to join in, if possible, so that this emergency action could develop into a global day of action.
All agreed on the need to stop U.S. imperialism and/or Israel from launching a military attack on Iran. There was also a consensus that the new sanctions President Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 31 — with the goal of breaking the Iranian central bank — were themselves an act of war aimed at the Iranian people. The political activists on the call raised the danger of a wider war should fighting break out in or around Iran.
While the organizations involved had varied assessments of the Iranian government, they all saw any intervention from U.S. imperialism in the Southwest Asian country as a threat to the entire region and to peace. Some of the people on the call who are originally from Iran and who were in touch with family and friends there conveyed the Iranian people’s anger at the recent assassination of a young scientist.
There was agreement to make “no assassinations” one of the demands to show solidarity with the Iranian population as well as to condemn the U.S. and its allies for criminal activities against Iran and its people.
As of Jan. 19, the organizations that called the actions or endorsed later included the United National Antiwar Coalition, the International Action Center, SI! Solidarity with Iran, Refugee Apostolic Catholic Church, Workers World Party, World Can’t Wait, American Iranian Friendship Committee, Answer Coalition, Antiwar.com, Peace of the Action, ComeHomeAmerica.us, St. Pete for Peace, Women Against Military Madness, Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality-Virginia, WESPAC Foundation, Peace Action Maine, Occupy Myrtle Beach, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Twin Cities Peace Campaign and Bail Out the People Movement.
Individual endorsers include authors David Swanson, “When the World Outlawed War,” and Phil Wilayto, “In Defense of Iran: Notes from a U.S. Peace Delegation’s Journey through the Islamic Republic”; and U.N. Human Rights Award winner Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general.
People could follow developments on the Facebook link: No War On Iran: National Day of Action Feb 4, www.facebook.com/events/214341975322807/.
Three members of UNAC’S delegation traveled to Odessa on the Black Sea to help monitor the May 2, 2016 memorial in Kulikovo Square. The delegation included three brave comrades Bruce Gagnon, who coordinates a global network opposing nuclear weapons in space; Phil Wilayto, editor of The Virginia Defender newspaper: and Regis Tremblay, an independent documentary filmmaker who will be producing a video about this issue. Both Bruce and Regis are members of Veterans for Peace. All three of them are affiliated with the United National Antiwar Coalition.
The coordinator and the leader of UNAC, Joe Lombardo, kept the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia informed about the delegation’s historical visit to Odessa and all the details of the memorial. We are willing to share their report with all our comrades and colleagues around the globe.
“Comment from Phil Wilayto:
- I was at the memorial today outside the locked gates of Kulikovo Square. There were three of us in a delegation sponsored by the United National Antiwar Coalition to monitor and report on the memorial. Other monitors came from about 10 European countries…
Report of May 2 events from Bruce Gagnon:
- Many feared that there would be more violence in Odessa, Ukraine yesterday similar to what took well over 50 lives on May 2, 2014. But in fact the day was peaceful when up to 10,000 people gathered near the Trades Union Hall to place flowers and stand with the Mothers Committee in a make shift memorial. The public was blocked from having direct contact with the Trades Hall by huge numbers of local police, national security services and fully armed neo-Nazi Azov battalion members who have been incorporated into the newly formed ‘National Guard’ in Ukraine (equipped and trained by US Special Forces troops at a base in western Ukraine)…
Phil Wilayto on his way to the European Union meeting with head of Mothers Committee from Odessa:
- I’ve left Odessa and will be in Brussels tomorrow. The president of the Mothers’ Council on May 2 is scheduled to make a formal presentation about the May 2 memorial to a committee of the European Parliament. I’ve been asked to add my impressions and also report on UNAC’S Odessa Solidarity Campaign. What is happening in Ukraine today is critical to political developments in Eastern and Southern Europe, and developments there will go on to affect the rest of the world. Odessa is the real thing: a modern-day struggle against the re-emergence of fascism. And yesterday’s turnout of thousands of Odessans in defiance of the fascist threats, official attempts at disruption and media hysteria defeated the best efforts of the extreme right-wing forces to terrorize the brave people of Odessa into submission. It was such a privilege to be there. I’ll be looking for friends and allies to help in this ongoing campaign.
- War Is A Crime .org: Ahmadinejad Meets With U.S. Peace Activists, Sept. 27, 2010 (accessed on Oct. 12, 2010)
- Pan-African News Wire, Sunday, September 26, 2010 My Dinner With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
- [Personal testimony form Phil Wilayto]
- Workers World, Feb. 4 anti-war actions called to stop imperialist threats to Iran, By John Catalinotto Published Jan 21, 2012
- comrades from UNAC visited the memorial in Odessa on 2 May, 2016